Snowball lauds #CreativeComeback as 'fast-track diversity at its best'

The former AMV chief explained that the returners programme delivers 'tonnes' of progress for women.

Snowball lauds #CreativeComeback as 'fast-track diversity at its best'

Dame Cilla Snowball, the former group chairman and group chief executive of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, has called on the industry to back the #CreativeComeback returners scheme.

In an impassioned speech to the graduating class of the first #CreativeComeback programme at Wavemaker UK, Snowball said: "We’re always moaning about the glacial pace of diversity progress in our industry and country – that it is all too slow, that nothing has changed, that we’re tired of trying to get our voices heard.

"Well, today we have shown what a ‘trisector’ approach can do in three years, when government, industry and charity work together to help women and drive change. This is fast-track diversity at its best. Never let it be said again that the dial can’t be shifted quickly."

Urging the industry to embrace the model to deliver "tonnes more progress for women together", Snowball noted that the programme shows just how much can be achieved, quickly, when women work together. "Change happens because individuals decide to do something. But it gets magnified at scale and accelerated when we act together," she said.

Snowball, who noted that she was also a returner having stepped down from her role at AMV BBDO after 26 years at the end of last year, was speaking on behalf of the Government Equalities Office and the Women’s Business Council, which she chairs.

The Women’s Business Council identified returners as a major priority – 91% of potential returners in the UK are women. Some 1.2m people in the UK are out of work because of their caring responsibilities but want to return to employment. "The route back in is really hard and shouldn’t be," Snowball added. This is challenge the government is seeking to address with a £5m investment in returnship grants.

Last year, Amber Rudd invited applications for Government Equalities Office Returner Funds in industries where women are under represented, and Creative Equals was awarded one of the very first returner grants.

The appetite for the scheme in the industry is clear – 200 women applied for the 58 places on the #CreativeComeback returnship programme.

The impact of #CreativeComeback has been amplified significantly by Diageo, which matched the government grant to become the sponsor of the programme. The scheme is also supported by Facebook, D&AD and 40 agencies.

Snowball said the programme provides living proof of what can be achieved through collaboration. She added: "The catalytic effect of this – from idea to strategic priority to policy, to funding to sponsorship to action – is testament to just how much you can do when good people work together to turn words into deeds."

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